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Frequently Asked Questions
regarding
THE CATHOLIC HIERARCHY.


Q. 1. What is the meaning of "The Catholic hierarchy?"

A. 1. The Catholic hierarchy is the "teaching Church," the ruling body composed of the priests with their bishops and the Pope above all. It is an army of leaders who have care and control of the holy and sacred things of the Church. Under this army of the "teaching Church" is the "hearing Church, the faithful, the laity.

The organization of the Church is like a vast army; the Pope, its visible head, is commander-in-chief of this army. He has jurisdiction and supreme and sovereign power and authority over the entire Church. He is formally addressed "Your Holiness."

The Cardinals are the Pope's advisers and assistants; they are his ministers. He appoints them. Together they form the Apostolic or Sacred College; it is this body that, in solemn conclave, chooses a new Pope when the See falls vacant.

Nuncios, internuncios, legates, and apostolic delegates are representatives or ambassadors of the Pope to different countries, courts, or occasions.

A patriarch is a bishop, successor of the Apostles, who holds the highest rank after the Pope, in jurisdiction. Patriarchs are independent of any ecclesiastical authority save that of the Pope, who is not only Patriarch of Rome, but Sovereign Pontiff, successor of Peter.

Archbishops, bishops, and vicars-apostolic possess varying jurisdictions. They rule over archdioceses, dioceses, vicariates.

A monsignor is one who for some special merit has been raised above the ranks of the ordinary clergy, and thus joins the prelates; the title is honorary.

[Source: catholicbook.com]



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